How to Have a Merry Stress-Free Christmas

In our imagination Christmas is a blissful time of log-fires and families happily singing carols together. In reality, for most families, it can be one of the most stressful times of the year. What is the secret of those people who have a stress-free and happy Christmas?

Be realistic. If we expect a perfect meal, perfect presents, and perfect family time then there is only one result, disappointment somewhere along the way; there’s no such thing as ‘perfect’!

What really matters? No-one is going to take care of your happiness this Christmas unless you do first. Let go of things which are not really important and focus your efforts on whatever really matters to you and those closest to you.

Top Tips:

Use a diary - write everything in the same place, events, card list, gift ideas and budget. Tick things off and you will see how well you are doing.

Make a present plan - could all your relatives get vouchers, hampers, or a home-made gift this year?

Ring the changes - perhaps a new tradition might bring new pleasures this year. Could everyone bring a dish to share, or could you splash out on lunch in a hotel?

Ask for help - Fully appreciating an occasion means playing a part in it. Don't be a martyr, give others a chance to help.

Prioritise - if you love a walk, a quiet bath, or a night out with your partner, then don't forget these things during the festive period. They are important to you, so find time for them.

Expect ups and downs. Those we care most about have the most powerful influence over our self-esteem. Emotions run high at Christmas. Remember; you decide how you feel about yourself. If someone is unpleasant to you then they will be feeling low about themselves for some reason and are attacking you to try to feel better.

Focus on being kind, supportive and full of festive cheer, no matter how others are behaving, and you are more likely to receive the same in return.

'Stay Calm and Content No Matter What Life Throws At You' covers more than 25 different topics and is a short and jargon-free look at how to live a calmer life; it is an ideal present this Christmas. Only £9.95 on Amazon with multiple 5 star reviews.

You can also visit Cat's blog on and ask her confidentially about your dilemmas, she is @catstaycalm on Twitter and Stay Calm and Content on Facebook.

EssentialsMAG relationship contributor is Cat Williams from Stay Calm and Content, email:, Tel: 07799 641347

Victoria Lee